Thursday, December 9, 2021

ROCCO's December Cozy Reviews!


Here are my December Cozy Reviews!

City of Shadows

Victoria Thompson

A Counterfeit Lady Novel #5

Berkley; Hardcover; 12/7/21

Four stars

In this all-new Counterfeit Lady Novel from USA Today bestselling author Victoria Thompson newlywed Elizabeth Miles must use her unlawful skills  to expose a dangerous charlatan. 

Elizabeth Miles Bates has returned from her honeymoon with Gideon and is taking great pride in having completely forsaken her disreputable past.  Then her friend, Anna Vanderslice, begs her to use her talents to save her widowed mother from a unscrupulous medium. Since the war and the flu epidemic left so many families in mourning,  séances have come back into vogue as desperate families long to communicate with their loved ones. 

Anna's mother has been attending séances in hopes of connecting with her son, David, who died of influenza.  Anna had thought it a heartbreaking but harmless activity but she's just learned that Mrs. Vanderslice is paying the medium ever-increasing sums of money in her eagerness to make contact. Since David's death has already caused Anna and her mother financial hardship, Mrs. Vanderslice's obsession is in danger of ruining them.

Madame Ophelia is working with a group of con artists to fleece as many grieving New Yorkers as possible before moving on to another city. Several of Mrs. Vanderslice's friends, as well as some of Gideon's clients, have already been victims.  Elizabeth knows that simply exposing the medium as a fraud will not be enough to recoup the stolen money;  the only way is to con the medium and her cohorts. But will Elizabeth's family help her when it means betraying other con artists?  Elizabeth recruits Gideon, her aunt Cybil and her partner, Zelda to lend a hand. Can Elizabeth and her gang of amateurs fool the professionals?  Or will speaking to the dead lead to deadly consequences?
A good series for fans of both mystery and historical novels!  Four paws!

Stitched in Crime
Emmie Caldwell
A Craft Fair Knitter Mystery #2
Berkley; Paperback; 12/7/21
Four stars

When murder pierces the fabric of the close-knit Crandalsburg Craft Fair, it's up to the Ninth Street Knitters to make a killer slip their stitch.

The Craft Fair may have hit a few snags lately, but knitting enthusiast Lia Geiger is hopeful her quiet life will return to its usual patterns in no time. Her daughter has officially moved back home, and sure, the house is a little crowded with Hayley's take-home work from the alpaca farm, but that's a price Lia will happily pay. All seems well until Cori Littlefield, a new vendor with a gift for crochet, is found dead, sending shock waves through all of Crandalsburg.

What begins as a tragic accident turns into a snarled spool of lies that only the combined efforts of the Ninth Street Knitters can untangle. When Lia makes a connection between Cori's death and a decades-old murder, it's up to her to weave together the clues and find the truth.
Knitting mysteries are always very popular and this second in the series is an intriguing entry.  Four paws!

Pride, Prejudice and Peril
Katie Oliver
A Jane Austen Tea Society Mystery
Berkley; Paperback; 12/7/21
4 12 stars
Jane Austen meets reality TV and murder in this quirky cozy mystery—the first in a new series!

Phaedra Brighton is perfectly content with her life of lecturing college students, gossiping with her best friends, and dreaming of Mr. Darcy. As a young, respected (if somewhat peculiar) English professor, her expertise lies in all things Jane Austen—but she knows that the closest she'll ever get to being a real-life Elizabeth Bennet is in her dreams.

When Who Wants to Marry Mr. Darcy, a new reality TV show, starts filming at her best friend Charlene's estate, Phaedra is intrigued. And when the producer asks her to lend her Austenian knowledge as a consultant on the show, she's over the moon. But on the first day of filming, when Charlene's new husband is found electrocuted and Charlene herself is accused of the crime, Phaedra comes crashing back to reality.

With murder on the syllabus and her best friend in dire straits, there's no Mr. Darcy around to help Phaedra—she'll have to get to the bottom of this mystery herself.
This is an intriguing premise for a series, combining classic literature with reality TV.  Could anything be more opposite?  It works, though. Very different. Reminded me in a way of the Hallmark mystery series Murder 101. ROCCO recommended!  four and a half paws!

Absence of Mallets
Kate Carlisle
A Fixer Upper Mystery
Berkley/ Paperback/ 12/7/21
Five stars

Contractor Shannon Hammer steels her nerve to pin down a killer in the latest Fixer-Upper Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Premeditated Mortar. . . .

Shannon could not be happier that her hunky thriller-writing boyfriend, Mac, has moved in, and it is a good thing they are living together because they are both busier than ever. Mac is hosting writing retreats at his now vacant lighthouse mansion, while Shannon and her crew build Homefront, a quaint Victorian village of tiny homes for veterans in need. Mac’s latest guests are proving to be a handful though, and Shannon has heard some grumbling from the luminaries of Lighthouse Cove about her latest passion project. But nothing can throw a wrench in their plans except a malicious murder.

When one of Shannon’s new friends is found brutally bludgeoned with a mallet near the lighthouse on Mac’s property, the couple hammers out a suspect list and searches for a motive. As they drill deeper for clues, more violence strikes and a new victim winds up in a coma. The pressure is on, and Shannon and Mac will have to move fast to find an unhinged killer dead set on demolishing anyone who gets in their way. . . .

Another series that only improves with age.  Shannon is an erstwhile sleuth, ditto her significant other Mac, and we always enjoy seeing how she and Mac put the pieces together to come up with the killer.  Discovered this series after seeing the Hallmark movie! Five paws!!!!!!

Curse of Salem
Kay Hooper
A Bishop Special Crimes Unit Mystery
Four Stars

 New York Times bestselling author Kay Hooper is back with a brand new thrilling paranormal suspense novel in the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series.
The small town of Salem has been quiet for months—or so Bishop and his elite Special Crimes Unit believe.  But then Hollis Templeton and Diana Hayes receive a warning in Diana's eerie "gray time" between the world of the living and the realm of the dead that a twisted killer is stalking Salem, bent on destroying in the most bloody and horrifying way possible the five families that founded the town.
The stakes are high, especially for new friends Nellie Cavendish and Finn Deverell, both members of the Five, and this time Bishop and his wife Miranda will lead the team to hunt down a vicious killer and uncover a dark and ancient curse haunting Salem.

This is a bit darker than the usual cozy, but still an excellent read for paranormal and mystery fans!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

ROCCO's November Cozy Reviews!

Ma-Row!  Here are my November reviews for the latest Penguin cozy mysteries!

Up first:


Jenn McKinlay

Library Lover's Mystery

Hardcover - 11/2/21

Five stars

Spring has sprung in Briar Creek, but it is not all sunshine and roses, in the newest Library Lover's Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of One for the Books.

Spring is livening up Briar Creek after a long, cold winter, and newlyweds Lindsey and Sully could not be happier. Even though the upcoming mayoral election is getting heated, everything else in town is coming up daffodils...until a body is found.

Ms. Cole, a librarian and current candidate for town mayor, is shocked when she opens her trunk to discover a murder victim who just so happens to be a guy she dated forty years ago and the founder of the baking empire Nana's Cookies. As the town gossip mill turns, a batch of rumors begins to circulate about Ms. Cole's rebellious youth, which--along with being a murder suspect--threatens to ruin her life and her budding political career. But Ms. Cole is one tough cookie who will not go down without a fight.

Has the campaign for mayor turned deadly? It is up to Lindsey, Sully, and the rest of the crafternoon pals to see how the cookie crumbles and figure out who is trying to frame Ms. Cole for murder and why.

Thank goodness marriage has not dampened Lindsey and Sully's propensity for getting involved with murder!  This time out it's Ms. Cole aka the Lemon who needs thier help when she's a suspect in the murder of an ex-flame.  Hard to think of Ms. Cole with an ex-flame, but stranger things have happened.  You dont need to have read others in this series to enjoy this one, but it helps keep all the interesting characters straight.  Five paws!


A Murder she Wrote Mystery

Jessica Fletcher/Terrie Farley Moran


Four and a half paws!

When a local art shop owner is murdered, Jessica Fletcher is surprised to once again be working alongside her old friend MI-6 agent Michael Haggerty to solve the case in the newest mystery in this USA Today bestselling series.

When Nelson Penzell, co-owner of a local art and treasure store in Cabot Cove, is murdered, the nail tech from Jessica Fletcher's favorite beauty parlor is the main suspect. After all, she's the one who ran out of the store screaming, covered in blood, and holding the murder weapon. Jessica is positive that despite the circumstances, Coreen can't possibly be guilty, and is determined to prove it.

When Michael Haggerty, handsome MI-6 agent and Jessica's old friend, is caught snooping around the victim’s home, it's quickly apparent to her that she was right. Nelson has always had a bit of a reputation for being a rake, but Haggerty is sure his sins go far beyond what anyone in town imagined. If she wants to clear Coreen's name, Jessica will have to work alongside Michael to find out who killed Nelson—and maybe help bust a crime ring in the process.

Jessica goes back to the roots of the old series in this latest entry.  Fans of the show and the book series will enjoy seeing familiar characters in action and, of course, Jessica pulling the rabbit out of the hat to solve the crime!  Four and a half paws.

Doggone Deadly

Deborah Blake

Catskill Pet Rescue Mystery


Four Paws

Kari Stuart is roped into helping out at a dog show—but soon finds she’s bitten off more than she can chew when her best friend is framed for murder in this new Catskills Pet Rescue Mystery.

When the woman running the big regional dog show calls out sick, dog groomer Suz Holden is asked to take over. But it’s too much for her to handle by herself— considering the president of the kennel club, Olivia Weiner, criticizes her at every turn—so she calls in her best friend, Kari Stuart, for help.
A long, stressful day goes from bad to worse when a local breeder is found dead, and the murder weapon seems to incriminate Suz.

While Kari knows her friend isn’t guilty, the police aren’t so sure, especially after a second murder points to Suz again. But trying to run a dog show and investigate a murder at the same time is like herding cats, and Kari will have to rely on the rest of the Serenity Sanctuary staff to keep things running smoothly while she—and her beloved and clever kitten, Queenie—sniff out the truth.

Any mystery that has dogs and cats in it is a sure winner with us!  an enjoyable read. PLus the cover's cute!  Four paws!

An Eggnog to Die For

Amy Pershing

Cape Cod Foodie Mystery


Four Paws

Christmas is coming to Cape Cod, but when Sam Barnes finds a very dead Santa in a very hip restaurant, it’s up to her to sift out suspects who have been naughty vs. nice….

Professional foodie Samantha Barnes has a simple Christmas list: a quiet holiday at home with her dog and a certain handsome harbor master; no embarrassing viral videos; and no finding dead bodies. Unfortunately she’s got family visiting, she’s spending a lot of time in front of the camera, and she’s just stumbled over the lifeless body of the town’s Santa Claus.
Plus, Sam’s plans for Christmas Eve are getting complicated.  There’s the great eggnog debate among her very opinionated guests.  There’s the “all edible” Christmas tree to decorate.  And there’s her Feast of the Five Fishes prepare. Nonetheless, Sam finds herself once again in the role of sleuth. She needs to find out who slayed this Santa—but can she pull off a perfect feast and nab a killer?

Food and mystery what could be more perfect?????  Sam is an engaging character and the holiday mystery is interesting!  I liked the "all edible" Christmas tree. Four paws.

Body and Soul Food

Books N Biscuits Mystery

Abby Collette

MMPB/Berkley/ 11/2/21

Four paws

In this page-turning new mystery series, fraternal twins Keaton and Koby will pull double duty when they take down a killer while preparing to open their new bookstore and soul-food café, Books & Biscuits.

When Koby Hill and Keaton Rutledge were orphaned at age two, they were separated, but their unbreakable connection lingered. Years later, they reunite and decide to make up for lost time and capitalize on their shared interests by opening up a well-stocked bookstore and cozy soul-food café in the quaint Pacific Northwest town of Timber Lake. But this new chapter of their lives could end on a cliffhanger after Koby's foster brother is found murdered.

The murder, which occurred in public between light-rail stops, seems impossible for the police to solve. But as Keaton and Koby know, two heads are always better than one, especially when it comes to mysteries. With just a week to go before the grand opening of their new café, the twins will use their revitalized connection with each other to make sure this is the killer's final page

Definitely a different twist on a cozy mystery!  Twins and a soul food cafe is a good premise and perfect setting for murder!  Looking forward to more.  Four paws!  

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

ROCCO interviews Terrie Farley Moran!


Recently the mantle of co-author of the popular MURDER SHE WROTE series was passed on to Terrie Farley Moran.  Many of you might remember her from co-authoring the Scrapbook Mystery series with Laura Childs!  The newest Jessica Fletcher mystery, DEBONAIR IN DEATH, releases today and we caught up with Terrie to find out her thoughts on continuing this popular series!

Hello Terrie!Meow!

1.      Tell us what your first thought was upon learning you were going to adopt the mantle of Jessica Fletcher's co-author!


Well let me describe the scene. I had no idea that there was any possibility of an opening for a new writer for the Murder, She Wrote series. If you recall the pandemic quarantine began in mid-March 2020. On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2020, I was singing and dancing to Irish music, baking soda bread and bemoaning that there were no parades. The phone rang and I answered, “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!” It was my agent who asked if I would be interested in writing the next few books in the Murder, She Wrote series. Before she could even outline the details of the project I shouted a resounding “YES”. Kim Lionetti is an excellent agent, so although I kept shouting things like, “I want to do this” and “I love Murder, She Wrote” Kim made me listen to all the dreary contract details and

discuss pros and cons. Still, as a fan of Jessica Fletcher since the first episode of the television show in 1984, not to mention I’d read most of the books, some more than once, I was overjoyed at being asked. So I guess you could say I was pretty darn happy! First thought: I can do this!



2.      How would you compare writing the Murder She Wrote Series to others that you've done? Easier?  Harder?  More challenging?


Continuing the Murder, She Wrote series is a huge challenge precisely because it has had such a long, successful life. There are more than two hundred fifty television episodes which are still broadcast around the world every single day. Fifty-two books were written in the series before I came on board. Since some of the early books were written while Murder, She Wrote was still on prime time television, the books are not successors of the television series and as the book were published there have been some character changes. For example, in the books, Sam Booth is no longer the mayor of Cabot Cove. He has been replaced by a man named Jim Shevlin and Jim’s wife, Susan is now the town travel agent, replacing Phyllis Grant who we knew as one of the “girls” at Loretta’s Beauty Parlor. In the television show Sheriff Metzger had a “never actually seen but often mentioned” wife named Adele, but somewhere along the line in the books they got divorced and he is now married to Maureen who is often present when a story line is in Cabot Cove.  So, I have to be extremely careful to keep my facts and people straight. I would hate to write a character as one of Jessica’s pals in a book only to find that person was the murderer or the murder victim in a book written some time ago. (Think back to the tv shows--Preston Giles!) The other significant issue from a writer’s perspective is that in the television episodes there are many scenes where Jessica is not present but the viewer sees what happens. Jessica may or may not learn about those events later on in the episode. However, the books are written in first person so Jessica either has to see what happens or someone has to tell her what they witnessed. The reader can only know what Jessica knows.


3.      Could you tell us what the future might hold for Jessica and her friends?

Certainly! Jessica will have adventures! Hmm, you want a little more? Okay. MURDER, SHE WROTE DEBONAIR IN DEATH (release date November 5, 2021) is set in Cabot Cove. So, we get to hang out with Doctor Seth Hazlitt, Sheriff Mort Metzger and the girls in Loretta’s Beauty Parlor. The big surprise is that British secret agent Michael Haggerty shows up! And then what? I can’t say any more about that but I can tell you that in MURDER, SHE WROTE KILLER ON THE COURT (release date May 17, 2022) Jessica will be at Rockaway Beach in New York City along with Grady, Donna and their son Frank, named for Jessica’s late husband. Oh and if you haven’t read MURDER, SHE WROTE KILLING IN A KOI POND, which was released this past June, the good news is, that it is now available in mass market paperback, so you can read how Jessica fairs when she visits an old college friend in Columbia, South Carolina. As you can see, Jessica Fletcher sure gets around, and we all know what happens wherever she goes.



4.      You also co-author the Scrapbooking series with Laura Childs. Will you be continuing to do that and if so, can you give us a preview of what might be coming up for Carmela and her beau, Edgar?

Our publisher would like us to continue with the New Orleans Scrapbooking series. Laura and I have talked about trying to find the time to write the next book. However, we are each writing multiple books a year so time is a problem. Even if we were scheduled to write a book in the near future, I couldn’t tell you anything about it. Carmela, Edgar, (and let’s not forget Ava) are Laura’s characters and I never talk about what they might be up to until the book is on the editor’s desk because Laura is the lead on plot and character development.


5.      Below are ROCCO's Fast Five.  Don't take time to think, just answer with the first thing that comes to your mind!  and thank you for the interview!


a.      What is your favorite part of the day?


Evening as day turns to dusk and dusk turns to dark.


b.      What food do you wish were calorie free?

Ice cream, especially with candy or cookies scattered in it.


c.      How do you clear your head after a bad day?


Talk or text with one of my children or grandchildren about their day!


d.      What smell takes you back to your childhood?

Laundry drying outdoors.


e.      Who would make you starstruck?

Angela Lansbury! Of course!


Rocco, thank you so much for inviting me! I loved all the questions, especially the Fast Five. And if it isn’t too much of an imposition, would you please tell Toni I said hello!!

ROCCO:  Done, Terrie! Toni says hello back and thank you!!!!!

For the next MSW release, I will interview the one and only Jessica Fletcher!  Watch for that in 2022!  I will review this book in my November post next week.

About the author(s)

Jessica Fletcher is a bestselling mystery writer who has a knack for stumbling upon real-life mysteries in her various travels.

Terrie Farley Moran is thrilled to be co-author, along with Jessica Fletcher, of the long running Murder, She Wrote series. She has also written the beachside Read ‘Em and Eat cozy mystery series and is co-author of Laura Childs’ New Orleans scrapbooking mysteries. Terrie is a recipient of both the Agatha and Derringer awards. Learn more online at


Penguin Publishing has consented to give away a  hardcover copy of DEBONAIR IN DEATH  to one of our lucky commenters!  To enter, just leave a comment in our comments section telling us what your favorite episode of MURDER SHE WROTE was!!!!  (Mine:  the Headless Horseman from season 4)

Don't forget to leave your email address so we can contact the winner!  US entries only please!

Contest ends midnight, November 12.


Tuesday, October 12, 2021




Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are catering a Victorian Christmas party at a swanky mansion in downtown Charleston. Drucilla Heyward, the hostess, is one of the wealthiest women in town.

As the champagne flows and the tea steeps, Drucilla is so pleased with the reception by her partygoers that she reveals her secret plan to Theodosia. The Grande Dame has brought the cream of Charleston society together to reveal that she is planning to give her wealth away to various charitable organizations. However, before she can make the announcement, Theodosia finds her crumpled unconscious in the hallway. It looks like the excitement has gotten to the elderly woman--except that there is a syringe sticking out of her neck.

Once again Theodosia Browning and her 'posse', Drayton and Haley, are on the job!  Theo attacks the case with her usual aplomb. Drayton seems like an unwilling helper at times, but we all know deep down he loves to help Theo with her sleuthing!  Theodosia's latest  beaux, Detective Riley, is pretty much absent in this one, but never fear!  Theodosia has Bert Tidwell front and center to keep her on her toes! (and I confess, I've missed Tidwell)   Not certain how much longer that romance between Theo and Riley will go on, though, because he doesn't seem very supportive of her sleuthing! Time will tell.  Longtime fans will not be disappointed and new readers can pick this adventure up without having read any previous, but we highly recommend you do so!  Five paws!!!!!!!


Laura will give away a signed copy of TWISTED TEA CHRISTMAS to one lucky commenter!  To enter, leave your name and email address in our comments section, along with 'what's your favorite holiday?.  ROCCO's brother Maxx will select one winner at random.  US entries only please. Contest ends mdnight, October 17.

Friday, October 8, 2021

ROCCO's October Cozy Reviews!

Merow, here are my October cozies!

We'll start off with a brief look at a favorite. We'll take a closer look at this one in a separate post next week!






An attack on the host of a fancy tea party sends Theodosia Browning looking for answers in the latest entry in the New York Times bestselling series.

Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are catering a Victorian Christmas party at a swanky mansion in downtown Charleston. Drucilla Heyward, the hostess, is one of the wealthiest women in town.

As the champagne flows and the tea steeps, Drucilla is so pleased with the reception by her partygoers that she reveals her secret plan to Theodosia. The Grande Dame has brought the cream of Charleston society together to reveal that she is planning to give her wealth away to various charitable organizations. However, before she can make the announcement, Theodosia finds her crumpled unconscious in the hallway. It looks like the

excitement has gotten to the elderly woman--except that there is a syringe sticking out of her neck.



A Brooklyn Murder Mystery

Trade PB; Berkley; October 5th

Four Paws

Amateur sleuth Odessa Dean is about to discover the only thing harder than finding her way out of an escape room is finding an affordable apartment in Brooklyn in this sequel to Killer Content.

Odessa Dean has made a home of Brooklyn. She has a fun job waiting tables at Untapped Books & Café and a new friend, Izzy, to explore the city with. When she's invited on a girls' day out escape room adventure, she jumps at the chance. It's all fun and games until the lights come on and they discover one of the girls bludgeoned to death...

The only possible suspects are Odessa and the four other players that were locked in the escape room with the victim. She refuses to believe that one of them is responsible for the murder, despite what the clues indicate. In between shifts at the café, Odessa splits her time interviewing the murder suspects, updating the bookstore's social media accounts, and searching for the impossible--an affordable apartment in Brooklyn.

But crime--and criminally high rent--waits for no woman. Can Odessa clear her and Izzy’s names before the police decide they're guilty?

A good follow up to the first in the series.  We are curious to see if Odessa finds that apartment!!!!  four paws.






When Parker Valentine decides to take a weekend getaway with her boyfriend Reid, a ski trip seems like the perfect choice. Between hitting the slopes and persuading the resort's wine director to sell her mulled wine, Parker is eager to mix business with pleasure. But her plans are muddled when she finds the resort owner's body on a treacherous portion of ski trail near the resort.

As a result, not only is Parker's romantic weekend thrown into chaos, but now that the owner has died, her business deal is due for a frosty reception, and her life might be in danger as well. After a series of unfortunate mishaps befall Parker, she realizes that whoever killed the resort owner might want to tie up loose ends. Parker's going to need all of the investigative skills at her disposal to catch a killer before they put her on ice.

An interesting plot and a spunky heroine. Who could ask for more?  Except maybe more books LOL.  4 1/2 paws.






For four hundred years, the Warren witches have used their magic to quietly help the citizens of the sleepy New England town of Evenfall thrive. There's never been a problem they couldn't handle. But then Constance Graves--a local known for being argumentative and demanding--dies while staying at the bed and breakfast Brynn Warren maintains with her aunts. At first, it seems like an accident...but it soon becomes clear that there's something more sinister at work, and Aunt Nora is shaping up to be the prime suspect.

There's nothing Brynn wants more than to prove Nora's innocence, and it hurts her to know that even two years ago that might have been easier. Brynn, after all, is a witch of the dead--a witch who can commune with ghosts. Ghosts never remember much about their deaths, but Constance might remember something about her life that would help crack the case. But Brynn hasn't used her powers since her husband died, and isn't even sure she still can. Brynn will just have to hope that her aunts' magic and her own investigative skills will lead her to answers--and maybe back to the gift she once thought herself ready to give up forever.

A good start to what looks like an interesting series. Then again, we've always been a sucker for the supernatural, witches in particular!  Four paws! 


Royal Spyness Mystery

Rhys Bowen

HC/Berkley/Oct 5, 2021

Four Paws!

Georgie is excited for her first Christmas as a married woman in her lovely new home. She suggests to her dashing husband, Darcy, that they have a little house party, but when Darcy receives a letter from his aunt Ermintrude, there is an abrupt change in plans. She has moved to a house on the edge of the Sandringham estate, near the royal family, and wants to invite Darcy and his new bride for Christmas. Aunt Ermintrude hints that the queen would like Georgie nearby. Georgie had not known that Aunt Ermintrude was a former lady-in-waiting and close confidante of her royal highness. The letter is therefore almost a royal request, so Georgie, Darcy, and their Christmas guests: Mummy, Grandad, Fig, and Binky all head to Sandringham.

Georgie soon learns that the notorious Mrs. Simpson, mistress to the Prince of Wales, will also be in attendance. It is now crystal clear to Georgie that the Queen expects her to do a bit of spying. There is tension in the air from the get-go, and when Georgie pays a visit to the queen, she learns that there is more to her request than just some simple eavesdropping. There have been a couple of strange accidents at the estate recently. Two gentlemen of the royal household have died in mysterious circumstances and another has been shot by mistake during a hunt. Georgie begins to suspect that a member of the royal family is the real target but her investigation will put her new husband and love of her life, Darcy, in the crosshairs of a killer.

Fans of this long running series will not be disappointed as Georgie puts on her sleuthing cap again!  We admit we are not fond of period mysteries but this one is an exception. Four paws.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

ROCCO reviews E. J. Copperman's latest Jersey Girl Mystery!

T. C. Here!

Seven years ago this December, the first Nick and Nora mystery debuted and I had my very first author appearance at a Barnes and Noble a week later.  It was a joint appearance with another author...E.J.Copperman, aka Jeff Cohen. Believe me, I could not have gotten through that without Jeff's help, and I will be forever grateful to him.

It doens't hurt, either, that I was a fan of Jeff's writing long before I met him.  I was introduced to his Comedy Tonight mysteries by a friend of  mine after Jeff made an appearance at their book club.  Jeff (and E.J.) write their mysteries with suspense and just the right splash of  me, there have been many times when I've pounded my keyboard and wished I were half as talented!

Jeff/EJ now has another excellent series out - the Jersey Girl Legal mysteries.  Book one was fantastic, and book two debuts today!

Here's the synopsis from Amazon:





The last person family lawyer Sandy Moss expects to walk into her courtroom, right in the middle of a trial, is TV star Patrick McNabb: prime suspect in her first (and she hopes, last) murder case.

Sandy knows what Patrick’s like. Friendly, overconfident, dazzlingly handsome . . . and a well-meaning menace. But his request seems harmless enough. His dear friend Cynthia is getting divorced, and he thinks Sandy’s perfect for the job. She accepts – because he’s Patrick and there is no denying him.

But of course it’s not that simple. Soon Sandy’s tangled up in yet another murder – and Patrick, who’s currently playing a private detective on TV, believes he’s essential to solving the whole thing . . .

I did not think that EJ could surpass Book #1 Inherit the Shoes, but guess what!  He has!  Very memorable characters, particularly Sandy Moss and of course, Patrick.  I can't wait to see what other trouble EJ has planned for them to get into!  A resounding five stars (we'd give it ten if we could).  Pick up your copy today!   

Friday, September 10, 2021

ROCCO's September Cozy Reviews!


It's time for September cozies!!!!

First up:


A Catskill Resort Mystery

Vicki Delany

Berkley; MMPB; Release Date9/7/21

4 1/2 stars

A summer of fun at a Catskills resort comes to an abrupt end when a guest is found murdered, in this new 1950s set mystery series.
It’s the summer of 1953, and Elizabeth Grady is settling into Haggerman’s Catskills Resort. As a vacation getaway, Haggerman’s is ideal, and although Elizabeth’s ostentatious but well-meaning mother is new to running the resort, Elizabeth is eager to help her organize the guests and the entertainment acts. But Elizabeth will have to resort to untested abilities if she wants to save her mother’s business.

When a reclusive guest is found dead in a lake on the grounds, and a copy of The Communist Manifesto is found in his cabin, the local police chief is convinced that the man was a Russian spy. But Elizabeth isn’t so sure, and with the fate of the resort hanging in the balance, she’ll need to dodge red herrings, withstand the Red Scare, and catch a killer red-handed.

Looks like an interesting start to a new series by Vicki Delany (author of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series).  It's set in the 1950's, which is unusual.  Will be interesting to see where this goes.  Solid plot, as per usual with Delany's writing.  four and a half paws!





An urgent note from a friend spurs Ann Gay to visit her recently married cousin, Jacqueline Heaton. Upon her arrival at Fiddler's Fingers, a remote, pine-grown estate on Lake Superior, Ann immediately senses her cousin's fear—someone has been playing increasingly malicious tricks on the Heatons, a proud family of Minnesota lumber tycoons, and worse yet, they seem determined to frame Jacqueline.
Ann quickly resolves to take Jacqueline and her young daughter, Toby, away from the danger. But what began as seemingly trivial pranks—ruined clothes, a burnt bed, a smashed boat—escalates to direct attacks and ultimately murder. Dangerous waters crash against the finger-like rocks on the lakeshore, making a sound like a guttural chuckle, one that seems to mock the murder that took place there—but no one is laughing when everyone on the estate becomes a suspect. Potential motives are revealed as Ann learns more about the Heaton family, and with no chance of anyone leaving Fiddler's Fingers until the killer is caught, Ann realizes that the only way to prove her cousin's innocence is by snaring the murderer herself.
The trap is set; with herself as bait, Ann's door creaks open in the night as a cloaked figure moves silently toward her bed....

Another period mystery, this one reminiscent of those old William Castle noir thrillers.  Who wouldn't be interested in finding out what makes fingers chuckle?  A solid four paws.


It's Summer in Mayville Heights, and Kathleen Paulson and her detective boyfriend Marcus, are eager to attend the closing concert of the local music festival. The concert is a success, but then one of the band members is discovered dead shortly after it. At first it’s assumed the death is a robbery gone wrong, but Kathleen suspects foul play—and she’s certain that she, along with her trusty side-cats, Owen and Hercules, can help solve the murder.

Before his death, Kathleen had noticed the victim in the library researching his genealogy, and when she and Marcus take a closer look at the man's family tree, they begin to think a previous death of one of his relatives now seems suspicious. The more Kathleen thinks about it, the more this murder feels like it could be an encore performance. Kathleen and her cats will need to act fast and be very careful if they want to stay off of a killer's hit list.

We love, love, love this series and number 13 still does not disappoint.  We love Kathleen and the antics of both her magical cats...and the mystery isnt bad either!  Five Paws

4 1/2 PAWS

Love meets murder in this new cozy mystery series set in a quirky romance bookstore, with a heroine to die for.

Lizzie Hale may be the lucky owner of a successful romance bookshop, Love Under the Covers, but she's decidedly un-lucky in love. Though she's read almost every famous romance novelist, from Jane Austen to Nora Roberts, none have helped her figure out how to get—and keep—a man.

But Lizzie has bigger problems to worry about. Like murder.

When Brody Pierce, swoon-worthy ranch owner and resident bachelor, is found stabbed through the chest, hearts were heard breaking all over idyllic Tinker's Creek. But when Lizzie's aunt is implicated in the murder, she's determined to clear her name. Lizzie quickly realizes that Brody was a hunk with many hidden

secrets, and she's soon leafing through a stack of suspects longer than Brody's list of lovers.

With the killer still on the loose, Lizzie will have to find the truth before this act of passion ignites a fire she can't put out.

Points for the different premise; cozy meets rom-com.  Another promising first entry that we will be watching!  four and a half paws.


Maddie James has finally given in to her friend Katrina’s pleas to open up her cat cafe to more than ten felines: they’re now up to fifteen purring friends. In fact, JJ’s House of Purrs is making such a splash that she’s getting national attention. The East Coast Animal Rescue League is quite interested in the cafe, and so Maddie accepts a request to meet with Jillian Allen, the executive director. Jillian shows up at the cafe and asks Maddie if they can partner on a fundraiser to support the local rescue efforts―and she offers up her celebrity endorser and her celebrity cat to sweeten the deal. Maddie, caught up in the prospect, offers up her sister Val to help plan the event.

But when Val shows up for a site visit at the venue, she finds Jillian strangled with a fancy cat leash―a piece of swag they were intending to use for the fundraiser―leaving Maddie with a lot of questions to answer. Was her death a tragic one-off event, or is there something more sinister going on? Maddie has to figure it out fast, before anyone else in the rescue community is jeopardized.

Have always been a JJ fan!  Good solid cozy. (Even if they did borrow my Nick and Nora title LOL.  No copyright on titles!!!!!!)  This was a july release from St. MArtin's and we are reviewing it because we feel it's worth a look!  Better late than never LOL.

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